This is an interesting time for the hit series Irredeemable. Now that the rogue superhero – the Plutonian – has been captured, the series is taking something of a new direction. How is it looking? Find out after the jump!

IRREDEEMABLE #22
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Peter Krause (Pgs. 1-5, 15-20), Diego Barreto (Pgs. 6-14, 21, 22)
Colourist: Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Cover Artist: Scott Clark (Covers A & C), Damian Couceiro (Cover B)
Editor: Matt Gagnon
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Price: $3.99

Previously, in Irredeemable: the Plutonian, Earth’s super-human protector, has gone rogue, and proceeded to wreak havoc across the planet. For the first twenty issues or so, the Plutonian’s former friends and super-team-mates – The Paradigm – have been trying to find a way to stop him. Finally, they did, by invoking the aid of the Vespa, an alien race who subdued and captured the Plutonian. Subsequently, he was taken to a Vespa prison/mine, withdrawing into his own fantasy world, but now even that is beginning to collapse.

Interesting Developments

We begin this issue with Plutonian subdued by the Vespans – wrapped in his own cloned, indestructible skin – and imprisoned. We then cut to Modeus – Plutonian’s old nemesis who has actually been in love with him all these years; he is working on a way to free his love. The Vespans, meanwhile, are getting ready to throw the Plutonian into a sun. While this is all going on, some members of The Paradigm are in the business of recruiting ex-villians to help rebuild the world. Our issue ends with the Plutonian, on the surface of a sun, being discovered by two aliens.

As I mentioned in the intro, this is an interesting time for Irredeemable – with the premise being partially resolved, the book, in my mind, appears to be in the process of taking a new direction. Whilst, as this issue shows, we haven’t heard the last of the Plutonian, he’s more in danger now than he is a direct threat to Earth, and Earth has different problems now – The Paradigm is not without fierce internal conflicts. This is all very interesting, and although it is perhaps an odd change to be dealing with space aliens and the like after earlier issues tended to bring things to a more human level, I am certainly on-board to see where this plot goes.

What has not changed in this book is the excellent writing from Mark Waid, which has all the quality that one would expect from such a name. From looking over the shoulders of aliens to watching the activities of The Paradigm back on Earth, the book gripped me from start to finish, and my suspension of disbelief never once waned. Waid also manages to pull off a very creepy scene early on with Modeus – I shan’t spoil it, but it did make me genuinely uncomfortable.

The only major problem I had with this book was that the three pages we spend with The Paradigm in the entire issue felt a bit out of place with the rest – a consequence of such a dramatic change of place from outer space to Earth, I fear. The main problem is that the sequence is so short and, and as such feels rather out of place amidst the rest of the plot, a sudden interlude that doesn’t really connect with anything else.

This isn’t really an issue for new-comers, either – Irredeemable is quite continuity-heavy at the moment, which is great for regular readers, as we get a complex plot that builds issue after issue. However, this also means that it can be hard to find a jumping-on point and, although the text re-cap at the front of the book does its best, it can’t quite explain everything, and new readers may find themselves a bit confused.

Fantasy and Reality

The art is split between two different people – Peter Krause handling the Plutonian fantasy sequences and Diego Barreto taking on the real-world bits. Both manage to look quite similar to one another and, without knowing better, I would have believed that the book was done by one artist simply using slightly different styles for different sequences. The Vespa – insect-like aliens that they are – are rendered very well by Barreto, and drawing so many of them was surely not an easy task.

The last two pages present the only real issue I had with the art. Entirely text-free, these pages show the Plutonian hurtling towards and crashing on sun, to be later discovered. I found it a bit hard to tell what was going on in these pages, primarily relating to whether or not the Plutonian had escaped his prison or not, and whether or not suns have actual, solid surfaces.

Cover A features The Plutonian standing in what appears to be a construction site, looking angry. I did not like this one. For starters, the illustration doesn’t look much like the Plutonian from the book, indeed, he is only vaguely recognisable. Secondly, the cover has nothing to do with the contents of the book – it is nothing more than a stock image, and not even a good one. I can only call it an awful cover – it baffles me why they decided to include it. Cover B, thankfully, is much better, featuring the hero Survivor looking down at the mask of his lost brother, which is lying amongst some rubble. This cover actually relates to the plot, not the plot of this issue, specifically, but at least it has something to do with the an ongoing plot-thread of the series. Indeed, this would have been a great cover for last issue, and as it is it’s still reasonable.

Another Great Issue

Cover-induced rage aside, this issue is another great instalment in the Irredeemable series – moving beyond its original premise has not made it less compelling, and it gets four stars out of five from me.

Rating: ★★★★☆

The Author

Scott Hunter

Scott Hunter

He spells 'colour' with a 'u' and has the Queen on his money, but Scott Hunter loves pop culture all the same. His first memories of comics are of going down to the local corner shop to buy issues of The Beano and watching the 90s X-Men and Spider-man cartoons. He only recently started reading and collecting comics regularly, but has plunged himself heart and soul into the hobby, bagging and boarding with the best of them. Outside of comics, he enjoys sci-fi (reading, writing and watching), good-bad horror films playing with a brass band. Favourite writers include John Wagner, Alan Moore, Mark Waid, Alan Grant and (in non-comics literature) Philip K. Dick and H.P. Lovecraft. Colin MacNeil, Carlos Ezquerra, Brian Bolland and Alex Ross rank among his favourite artists.

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2 Comments

  1. J Michael T
    February 6, 2011 at 8:49 am — Reply

    I love this series and can’t wait to see where it’s going. However, I feel like it has lost a little bit of momentum. I’m used to Mark Waid coming out of left field with some sort of unexpected gotcha, so I’m patiently waiting. This issue felt somewhat out of synch with the overall series, and I blame the last two pages too for most of that. I’ve had to re-read them several times and I’m still not sure I understand what happened. Of course, now I can’t wait for #23. Waid wins.

  2. mosdef
    February 6, 2011 at 9:10 pm — Reply

    i thought it was a great read, and the twist with modeus at the end i did not see coming! this is majorspoilers and people come to majorspoilers to get spoilers, so dont hold back!! but i feel the threat of the vespa has been underplayed. they were these big bad aliens who could whoop up earth and they were shown being weary and in fear of the plutonian. but it was a great issue!

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